31 December 2016
I have belonged to Textile group “Chain Reaction” for over a year, and yearly subscriptions (due at the end December), focused my mind on whether or not to continue. The conclusion I arrived at was to leave the group, which I will explain below.
Recently, I had not been enjoying the meetings. This was partly due to them being bureaucratic and taking up a whole day of my time in return for just an hour or so of artistic practice, and exchange with other members.
I was the only member with, or studying for a creative arts degree. Other members were enthusiastic hobbyists, mainly with, or studying for City and Guilds qualifications and each with a technical speciality. In contrast, I am someone who is passionate about all types of textiles practice and I want to expose myself to many different techniques as possible to widen my visual vocabulary. I am not interested in becoming an expert in ‘felting’, ‘weaving’, embroidery’, or ‘dyeing’ (for example). My priority is to foster creativity, and in doing so, explore how techniques can be used for maximum visual expression.
I have always been viewed as a ‘beginner’ within the group – indeed it has been mentioned to me on more than one occasion. Whether or not I am a beginner is a matter of debate which at present, serves no purpose. Part of developing as an artist is to put aside doubts and criticisms, and I feel that being labelled as a beginner is not helpful to either my self esteem or confidence. This is the main reason why I do not want to continue as part of the group.
In the summer of 2015, I was invited to join the newly formed “Print and stitch” Group. In contrast, I find these people more like-minded. I do not have to fit into a mould of being (for example) an ’embroiderer’ or a ‘printer’. It’s a group which thrives on sharing ideas and sounding them off against each other. These are people who respect me and whom I respect – a much better long term proposition.
I view my situation similar to band members in a musical group. They frequently drift apart; creative differences and/or personal differences may lead to break-ups. New alliances promote creative re-alignment and re-invigoration. It’s all about finding the right combination.